Okiku Doll: Possession by a Spirit

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Let’s face it, who doesn’t love dolls? They have been a part of everyone’s childhood, whether boy or girl. From teddy bears to cute little animals to life-size candy dolls, they have been our companions when we were small and for some, even after growing up. We used to cuddle with them while sleeping and some of us even gained an emotional attachment to them over time. As we grew up most of us all but forgot about these inanimate objects. However, there are some dolls in the world that are quite hard to forget, because of something unique they possess. Okiku the doll is one amongst those unforgettable ones.

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The Image of Okiku Doll

There are mysteries surrounding many dolls in the world. For example, we all know about Anabelle the doll, which even has a movie series based upon it due to its haunted nature. Then there is Robert the doll, Ruby, and many others. Okiku the doll is not exactly the same as these because it isn’t violent in nature. It doesn’t seem to be cursed or have any fearful history surrounding it. However, what is exceptionally weird about this Japanese toy is that every year…Okiku the doll’s hair keeps growing. That too, without any valid explanation.

Okiku the Doll: Beginnings

Okiku the Doll didn’t always have this strange phenomenon attached to it. It was a normal one to begin with, and was purchased way back in the year 1918, from Tanuki Koji who had a shop in Sapporo’s famous shopping street. The buyer was one 17-year-old Eikichi Suzuki, who was visiting the city for a marine exhibition. When he saw the doll in a shop, he instantly wished to buy it for his two-year-old sister, Okiku, as a souvenir. When he took it back and presented it to her, she fell in love with it instantly.

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What followed was a year of inseparability of Okiku and the doll, which she subsequently named after herself. She wouldn’t let it out of her sight, clinging to it at all times and even sleeping with this doll. Her attachment to it was natural; it was a beautiful doll, with shoulder-length jet-black hair, beady-black eyes, and wrapped in a traditional kimono. To a child of her age, a doll like this would indeed be precious.

Okiku can grow her hairs

Unfortunately, Okiku passed away just the next year due to a cold. The family was devastated at their loss. Because Okiku the doll had been so precious to their daughter, they planned to bury the doll with Okiku, but ultimately that didn’t happen. Instead, they placed the doll on an altar in their house, in memory of their beloved daughter. They even prayed to it.

Strange Surrounding Nearby

Soon, they started noticing something unusual about Okiku the doll. When previously, its hair had been only shoulder-length long, it almost reached till her waist now, ending in jagged cuts unlike the smooth ones it had before. Obviously, this was extremely strange because dolls are not living creatures and their hair isn’t exactly supposed to grow. The family too found it absurd. They believed that their daughter’s spirit had attached itself to the Okiku the doll, and so when they left the city to move to Sakhalin, they gave it away to a temple priest.

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Okiku doll under supervision

The doll was thus moved to Mannenji Temple, in the town of Iwamizawa, under the care of the priest who was informed of the doll’s strange feature beforehand. He too confirmed this odd phenomenon. Despite being trimmed at regular intervals, Okiku’s hair would keep on getting longer on its own. It would be allowed to reach its knees before being cut again.

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Okiku the doll still resides in the same temple in Japan. Despite its haunted nature, it is taken well care of and a ceremony is also held when it is time for a haircut. The shrine where the doll is kept has various photos of it in different haircuts. The story has been validated by many people, and in fact also has scientific proof—when a sample of hair was taken from Okiku the doll and examined in a lab, it was found that the hair is similar to that of a young girl’s. This further strengthens the theory that little Okiku’s soul really does reside in that doll. Maybe the spirit of the girl latched itself onto her favorite possession after her untimely death. That would also explain why the doll has never attempted to harm anyone. It stays in its shrine, with its hair growing longer every year, experiencing whatever little of life it can from inside a lifeless body.

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